Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #13- From Frontier Developments
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Hi Commander,

Welcome to newsletter number 13, the latest communication from the Elite: Dangerous team!

We unveil some information about the forthcoming Alpha testing, and show more of the weapons those intrepid Alpha testers will get their hands on soon.  Amongst other things we take a further look as some of the spectacular space stations you will find in the game, and gear up for Movember.

Table of Contents (click subject to jump forward):

Dev Diary #7 Released

We will be starting Alpha testing in December, and will focus on different aspects of the game in turn - the first build is a test of close-to-final combat systems. This process is specifically designed to allow us to get the best results for the good of the game, with the team being able to respond to feedback.

We want such great collaboration and flexibility to be an ongoing theme.  It is important to be able to tune the game as it comes together – as an example, the hugely popular online game ‘Minecraft’ had a public beta phase (call this a gamma phase perhaps) where the whole game was available but tweaking was still happening for an extended period. This was followed by a ‘retail’ release once the developers were happy with the result.  We view this as a very sensible and successful template, and it’s the type of model we want to follow with Elite: Dangerous.

Our subsequent Beta phase will follow on from the Alpha, and begins as the game starts to work as a coherent whole, and multiple functions of the game can be tested together. Again this will be a flexible process as we take and respond to feedback from the Beta testers. After the private alpha and beta period is complete all our backers will get access to the game, before it has its retail launch, which will allow us to make sure the game is the maximum possible quality.

Footnote:  the Alpha is available to backers who pledged £200+, as per the reward tier descriptions.  Existing or new backers can either upgrade or make fresh pledges and join the Alpha testing process.

The seventh dev diary video has been released, in which David Braben explains the process further – see the video here:


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Weapons: Reach out and touch someone

As part of the Alpha combat test we will of course need a decent selection of weapons - you may remember the beam laser and rail gun from the previous newsletter.

Below are some more images of the firepower that will be at your disposal.  This cannon  fits onto the small hardpoints on ships.  It’s one of the more basic weapons types, but will consequently be cheap to acquire and run, with plentiful supplies of ammunition:

As well as direct fire weapons, we will of course have missiles and torpedoes.  Torpedoes are the larger of the two, and the generally smaller missiles tend to be fitted in racks – check out this size chart:

In previous games, missiles and torpedoes have been relatively expensive and a resource to be carefully managed in combat.  Elite: Dangerous will follow this lead, but also allow you to carry larger numbers of them in their racks.  There will be a variety of warheads and capabilities, ranging from cheap and dumb direct ‘line of sight’ fire to more sophisticated heat seeker types with multiple sub-munition warheads.  Here we have close ups of two of the medium size missiles and, below, their associated rack mounts.

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Stations: Cities in the Sky

In Newsletter 11 we looked at some of the early exciting development work on space stations.  That approach has been something that is bearing fruit, and design and development continues apace.

In this particular painted concept image you can see a familiar central spindle that rotates, with living and working in the top structure with comfortable artificial gravity created by the centripetal force.

Around this are static structures for industry or research where microgravity provides some benefit, situated close to the rotating hub, where small ‘taxis’ ferry people back and forth to the rotating metropolis.

In game, these streams of regular traffic between these structures will make the stations come alive as enthrallingly beautiful, bustling cities in the sky.

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Ships: The Panther LX

We expect the new Panther LX model heavy cargo clipper – a trading workhorse - to remain as popular in Elite: Dangerous as its predecessors were in previous games.  A render of the model’s blockout mesh was posted in a previous newsletter to show the scale of ships in the game.  Here we have the paint-over of that mesh, which is acting as guidance for the modellers who are creating the ship.

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Comms Chatter: An Ode to Facial Hair

The month of November is rolling around again and several forumites have begun preparations for an Elite-themed Movember campaign that you are all invited to participate in!

For those that don’t know what Movember is, it is an international charity event that happens every November in aid of men’s health charities. The premise is that you start on the 1st November completely clean-shaven, and then endeavour to grow and groom the most impressive moustache by the end of the month - all the while taking donations for your efforts, all of which goes to these charities. Think of it like a mini Kickstarter campaign, for your face!

Members of the dev team at Frontier are also doing their part. Elite producer Michael Brookes has already promised to shave off his iconic, treasured beard if the group raised over £600 before November, a target that the community duly smashed! The next target is £1200 before November to see Elite’s lead programmer Igor also face the razor for the start of Movember. To help us make this happen and support a great cause head over to the Elite: Dangerous Movember page now!

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Reward Add-Ons: Last Orders

In Newsletter 12 we announced we will complete the final round of physical funding reward add-ons (t-shirts, mugs and prints). Please place your final orders by October 31st.  After this date, they will be removed from the available rewards packages.  We will be announcing a new retail channel for merchandise in due course.

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As always, we thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for Elite: Dangerous!

Until next time..…


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